I’m very interested in this project of Tim Schafer’s.
Darius Kazemi makes some interesting points about it in this article: http://kotaku.com/5883769/lets-not-jump-to-conclusions-about-kickstarter+funded-games-just-yet/
What I wonder about is basically this. Tim Schafer can do this not because his game concept is brilliant—at this point he hasn’t publicly discussed a game concept at all, and the only available info on it is that it will belong to the half-forgotten point & click adventure genre that Schafer pioneered and I loved so.
Tim doesn’t have any accountability to the people who make this game, and he knows that. If he decides to take this money and do something else with it—or if something goes wrong and the game doesn’t get finished—the backers have little to no recourse, and he’s very up front about that.
The reason he can still do this is precisely because he’s Tim Schafer—he’s a well-known game industry auteur with a large body of existing work and a signature style. When Tim Schafer tells you he’s going to make an adventure game, you know exactly what you’re going to get. He’s very publicly associated with the project, so he knows full well that it would destroy his career if he ran off with the money.
So this doesn’t mean anything for young indies who are looking to crowd-source funding for their games. But it COULD.
What we need is an extension of the Kickstarter concept that doesn’t just allow you to fund a project, it also allows you to have a voice in the decisions made by the people working on that project. If I’ve provided 1/1000th of the money, then I should have 1/1000th of the vote.
Existing companies do this. They have private investors, and a board of directors that names a chairman and votes on critical issues for the company, and stand to make a profit if the company is successful. But this is an old system, and it’s based on the now-obsolete need to get all those voting bodies in a room together to make decisions.
We don’t need this anymore. What we need now are tools that allow online communities of thousands to make the same decisions that used to be made exclusively by board members in stuffy, cigar-smoke-filled conference rooms.
The technology is here. If we build the system to allow regular people to fund innovation on a small, out-of-pocket scale, just imagine the sort of innovations that will appear. You’ll be able to shell out $15 to fund a project just based on the quality of the idea—knowing that even if it isn’t a big name with a lot to lose helming the project, you still have the ability to make a difference and create the project you want.